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02-19-2009, 07:43 AM   #16
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The other thing is we could find out which pin is the focus assist enable pin and hack up something that does this.
Anyone w/ a Pentax flash willing to give this a try?
You'll need some electrical tape and a Pentax flash. Tape over the contacts one by one until the spotbeam is disabled. Hopefully, it's just a dumb connection you have to short together to enable it.

02-25-2009, 03:51 AM   #17
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I just got an AF 330 ftz. I just spent an outing shooting my AF 360 wirelessly using the "dumb" slave mode, triggered by the 330 covered with a foamcore (so as not to blind my targets but still have the spotbeam and to trigger the 360)

Have to say the focus beam works like charm =) It draws attention to me but that's a small price to pay for actually getting shots in focus!

You can see me lifting up my AF 360 in the background here. Oh the joys of using bounce flash in portrait orientation! I was pretty excited today that this setup actually worked

I'm still hoping that K30D (or K300D) have focus assist with the K-M autofocus or better though.
02-25-2009, 05:41 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andi Lo Quote
shooting my AF 360 wirelessly using the "dumb" slave mode, triggered by the 330 covered with a foamcore

What did you mean by 330 covered with foamcore?
And do you mean the AF360 was in optical slave mode? I didn't realize it had one
Did you do with and without tests to see how much faster it was?
Thanks for testing the 330 usefulness...I might buy one to play with to see if I can find the AF assist beam pin...
02-25-2009, 07:47 PM   #19
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Disclaimer:my goal was to pack two features in one upgrade which is to have focus assist and a wireless trigger. If you just need focus assist, just skip to the last paragraph.

Here's the 330 ftz covered with foamcore, stuck on the flash using velcro. The setup is not perfect as in some shots I can see the light reflection from the floor or wall from the top and bottom of the flash, ruining the exposure. I'll try to fix this later by putting two triangular piece of foamcore, blocking light to target but still allowing the 360 to trigger. The purpose of the 330 is to have the focus assist and trigger the 360, not for the flash.

I know that this can also be achieved with another 360 (on master and setup in such a way that it doesn't contribute to exposure) or upgrading to K10 and above; nevertheless these options either cost more (35$ vs 170$ for a 360), weigh more (60 grams more for a second 360), or lack focus assist (K10/K20 upgrade - I may be wrong here).

As for testing with / without spotbeam. I haven't had a chance to do that since I've only used it once yesterday (around 200 shots), but I feel that these are conditions where pentax af usually have a hard time focusing, and this time focusing seems to be much easier and accurate. I won't say that it focuses in a snap (speed wise, not accuracy) like my friends' nikons, but I out of the 200 I only have probably 15 misfocus. If you want to test it, try using the SB mode on your 360, it should have a similar effect when it's on / off.... Although the issue here might be that if the light level is so low, these are conditions where you want a flash anyway to increase shutter speed (therefore not SB mode). An ISO 800-1600 shot without flash can hide misfocus because the picture will be unsharp to begin with.

As for 360's dumb slave mode. I read this in another thread. Basically you turn on the 360, hold the light button for 3 seconds, and select the slave mode using the s button. #1 is smart mode where the flash will only trigger on another flash from the same radio wave (AFAIK, might be wrong here). #2 is dumb mode where it will flash everytime the red area in front of the flash (the one printed "pentax) senses a flash fired. I can set the 360 on auto mode so perfect exposures everytime as long as I don't mess up the distance / aperture combination on the camera

If you just need focus assist and dont need to trigger a second flash, AF 240T might be your answer since it seems to be less intimidating. I chose the 330 since they weigh the same but seems to pack more features, looks smoother on digital bodies too. A lightweight model that tilt / swivel and have focus assist would be perfect, but such a model doesn't seem to exist in pentaxland. If anyone here knows alot about third a party flash that packs these features, please let me know

Last edited by Andi Lo; 02-25-2009 at 08:20 PM.

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